Lea Bridge Farm

The farm was half a mile east of the River Lea and a shorter distance west of the Dagenham Brook.

Lea Bridge Farm had originally been called Black Marsh Farm. The River Lea floodplain was fertile but difficult to cross. A local archaeological report identified ’very dark grey sandy clay’. There were two ancient routes – the Black Path and another track from Marsh Lane, used by commoners sending cattle to the marsh Lammas lands for summer grazing.

A third track, the forerunner of the turnpike, reached Black Bridge over Dagenham Brook, near to the later site of the Hare and Hounds Pub.

When the Lea Bridge turnpike road across Leyton Marsh was opened in 1757, its four mile marker was situated opposite the farm gateway. This had prompted the name change.

The crops of Lea Bridge Farm included potatoes, hay and osiers for basket making. There were also plant nurseries. From the mid-19th century, the farm also arranged the dyeing of silk yarn by former East End silk workers.

In 1840, the nearby railway opened, with a station at Lea Bridge. Thirteen years later, the East London Waterworks built an aqueduct to move extracted water from the River Lea at Coppermill to the Essex Filter Beds. This aqueduct is now filled in and used as a cycle and footpath. These were joined by a gas works.

From the 1890s there were further residential and industrial developments to the north and east of Lea Bridge Farm. Its role as one of the last areas of agriculture in Leyton ceased in 1904.

An industrial estate that once stood at 97 Lea Bridge Road on the site was demolished in 2016 and replaced by three white tower blocks.

N.B. This material has been collated from discoveries by local historian Claire Weiss with artwork kindly provided by Lindsay Topping.

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